Week 5: AR in the Ad Industry

The 100 Trends documented posted by JWT was published previously to today's WWDC conference. They spoke about advancements with AR, with Apple but also what it will mean for developers. They referenced Ikea, when they implemented AR for their catalogue to show what their furniture will look like in your home. They also spoke about how successful Pokemon Go was for a gaming platform using AR. But what will the future hold for AR in advertising? Where can we see this going more easily, and how will companies use it to their advantage?

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Well even though it may not seem like it, Snapchat filters are a perfect example of AR as well, and if we have ever experienced a Snapchat filter, we know that they're fun, people share them, and most importantly, it's being integrated on an app which more than 158 million people use, everyday. (Business Insider) And as fun as they are, Starbucks has actually jumped the gun, and had made branded Snapchat filters around Christmas time and also to promote happy hour. In general, Starbucks has always take great advantage of Snapchat, using other tools like GeoFilters and sponsored ads. 

Other brands are starting to get on board with the advantages of AR and doing quite well. For example, integrating traditional media, and using AR as an extension to create more of an impact for those who have access to smartphones, but still having the traditional media available to gives more legs to a campaign. For example, Volkswagen have billboards in time square and on bus shelters, but they transform with an app they created, to provide a more of an interactive experience. (Inspiration Room) This was one of the earliest examples of AR in advertising and it is bound to go much, much further. One of the limitations on this early campaign was asking the public to download an app, requiring a data connection and also for them to use their data, where carrier fees apply. Even though there is often public wifi in large areas such as times square, it is often slower than normal and not always stable. Integrating AR into applications we may already have downloaded, like Snapchat, has been the way to go more recently. Google actually indicates that on average only one in four apps get used after installing them. (Think With Google) Ikea's advantage was using the AR component in the consumer's homes, which will evidently, be on their home wifi network. 

However there do seem to be some limitations to AR as compared to VR and 360 video. VR makes the viewer feel like you are being transported, AR has to work where you are, and no matter where you are. Alexis Cox the creator of Tabel reported that even with VR, storytelling techniques are "incredibly undefined." Since it is still a relatively new platform, the brainstorming is very crucial before diving into the the execution. 

I believe though, as the example with Volkswagen, that it can be used as a great extension to a pre-existing campaign. It would still increase reach and generate engagement, but be used alongside another tactic such as the following example. Think of the PR which would occur having the ability to stand in front of a Burger King, and through the camera lens of your smart phone see it go up in flames. It would truly be a hot topic. Furthermore, to increase the accessibility of AR I think it will eventually be a web based component if possible, instead of downloading apps. Similar to 360 video being available in browser, without having to download the youtube app necessarily. But for now, we will see which brands start to really embrace this technology, and which ones sit back to watch and learn. Either way, we’re always learning and adapting to new features, technologies, and ways to improve what we already do. It’s likely just a matter of time before these new technologies becomes more of the norm, even in advertising.